Solace by Belinda McKeon – Review


Solace is heartfelt, intelligent and moving. Readers will love this new Irish writer.

Solace is beautifully written and the comparison with Colm Toibin is well deserved; I thought to myself that Solace is like Graham Swift with romance. The wonderful Irish dialogue is also a treat.

Mark is removing himself from his family’s expectation that he will come back to run the farm, and trying to finish a long-drawn-out PHD. Meanwhile, Joanne is similarly trying to remove herself from her family’s influence and forge a career for herself as a solicitor. They are both living it up in Dublin when they ‘hook up’.

Solace takes us through Mark and Joanne’s subsequent love affair. Unfortunately, the magic of early love is nipped in the bud by the practicalities of real life and an unexpected turn.

The brilliance of Solace is its examination of the relationship between parent and adult child. The poignancy of these relationships is striking. A most unwelcome tragedy sees these relationships unravel.

The complex character of Mark’s father is brilliantly drawn, and each character is so familiar. You will miss these characters when the story finishes, and wonder why, and want to stay with them.

By Jenny Mann


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